The mighty lion was roaming about in the jungle, trying to boast his falling image. He approached the lowly mountain goat and roared, “Who’s the greatest in the jungle?” The goat whimpered, “You are the king of the jungle”. This was encouraging and so he continued. “Hail there “, he said, to a passing Kangaroo. “Who is the mighty king of the jungle?” he blasted. The long necked kangaroo fell to his knees and whispered in a faint voice, “You are the mighty king of the jungle.” With that he faced the wicked fighter of a black buffalo and roared, “Who is the king of the jungle”. The buffalo bowed his head and said, “You are the king of the jungle O mighty lion”.
A giant elephant was lumbering along and when the lion asked, “Who is the king of the jungle?” This giant hairless four footed mammal reached down with his mighty trunk and wrapping it tightly around the middle of the lion, flung him a hundred yards in the air. He landed in a pile of dust and pulling himself together said, “Well, you don’t have to get sore just because you don’t know the answer!”
A similar event happened when the disciples were walking with Jesus to the city of Capernaum. “What were you arguing about” Jesus asked? They wouldn’t answer him for the argument was over who among them would be the greatest in the kingdom?” (Mark 9:33-34).
The argument has never stopped among believers as to who is the greatest in the jungle (the church). The answer Jesus gave them was simple. “If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all and the servant of all” (verse 25).
When the morning service was over the preacher asked his wife, “How many great preachers do you think there are in the church?” She replied with a twinkle in her eye, “One less than you think!” What gives anyone the right to think that they, because of superior wisdom and knowledge, could stand before a congregation and tell them how they should live? There is a great difference between preaching and communicating, as there is between performing and serving.
The performer lives on compliments and the feeling of being superior. The servant doesn’t for his motive is just to serve. The performer wears out — the servant doesn’t. The Psalmist said, “Holy and reverend is thy name O Jehovah” (Psalms 111:9).
It was Jesus who picked up the towel at the last supper. He washed the feet of all of his disciples, even the feet of Judas. Simon objected, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus explained, “What I am doing now, you don’t understand, but you will understand one day”. Legend says, that when Simon Peter was crucified, he requested that they hang him up side down, for he was unworthy to die like his master.
The argument about greatness was never mentioned after the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). To the contrary, Peter, who was deemed by historians as the “greatest” of them all, wrote, “Likewise, you that are younger, submit yourselves unto the older. Yes, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility; for God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore unto the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time . . . But the God of all grace, who has called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you ” (1 Peter 5:5-6,10).
At the last supper, Peter declared, No, Sir, you shall never wash my feet”. Jesus spoke kindly in reply, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with me”. Peter replied humbly, “Wash my hands and my feet” (John 13:1-17). Humility was something new to the apostles, and especially Simon. I identify with Simon for I was dipped in brass, not in gold. Mother saw the need and often said to me when I would leave the house, “Jack, don’t forget to be humble”. I was like Simon, I didn’t understand it then, as I do now. Trials and suffering helps one to find Humility. It is the greatest that God gives, for from it grows all the other virtues of God. You have to get down before God can get you up. He cannot lift one who is already up nor give wisdom to one that is already wise.
The old lady said, “Bury me with a fork in my hand”. So it was done and the little town buzzed with light hearted gossip about the peculiar request. The following Sunday the minister explained it all. He said, “She told me that as she grew up and dinner was through, mother would always say, “Hold back a fork in your hand, for the best is yet to come.” It became a little unsung motto of that little down, “Be sure to have a fork in your hand when you’re buried”.